Monday, May 22, 2006

Friends, Roommates, & Money

I had the pleasure of spending half of my New York City week with my friend M. M is a very generous friend and had allowed me to stay with her rent-free in her mid-sized studio apartment 2 years ago. Originally after grad school, I decided to move back to California. But after about 4 months of being unemployed, missing my boyfriend (now fiance), and wishing I were back in NY, I decided to move back. M graciously offered to host me for as long as necessary. It took me some time to find a job, but then even after I found a job, M ask me to stay for a bit longer. All in all, I was there a full 6 months.

During the week, when I referred to M as an old roommate, she mentioned that she never considered me a roommate since I never paid rent. (I did offer to pay rent on more than one occassion). This comment caused me to reflect on our relationship. Being roommates can strain a friendship, depending on the financial situation of those involved and the timliness of monetary reimbursement.

Since I never paid a dime of rent, I found myself bending over backwards to accomodate M, leaving on the weekends, packing her lunches, doing the chores, etc. In the end, after I moved out to my own apartment, I also gave M a substantial monetary gift (I gave her the choice of us going on a trip together or her going on a trip by herself - she decided to go to London). This non-obligatory arrangement allowed us to both be generous, in different ways. In the end, I think it strengthened our friendship and allowed us to grow closer.


Xing said...

You have a very generous friend's hard to find such friends who will help you out in times of need. In regards to your "bending over backwards", i think it was fair of you to have done those little things like helping out with chores, packing her lunch, and letting her have her own space over the weekends.